Why Is Site Design So Important?

A well-designed webpage is an excellent addition to any business. It looks nice, respectably presents your brand, and encourages customer participation. If you’re promoting your website using SEO, you can’t overlook the essentials of a sleek, modern, and intuitive site design.

Site design is important to your website for two main reasons:

  1. Search engines favor well-designed sites in search results.
  2. Well-designed sites provide better user experiences for your visitors.

With those ideas in mind, let’s look at some elements involved in creating a high-quality, well-designed website that both Google and users will like.

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Why Your Site Should Be Responsive

Are you in the process of creating or updating a site? If so, you may be a little overwhelmed with how many elements you are expected to take into consideration. From design to development to SEO, there are a lot of working pieces that go into a successful site, and it’s critical to have a handle on all of them.

As you work through the planning stages, there’s one more factor you should add to your list: responsive design. And although you may not love the idea of having another item on your checklist right now, you’ll be happy that you did a few months down the road when your site is attracting traffic and generating business.

So what exactly is responsive design? And how can you make sure that your site has it? Here’s what you need to know.

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Why Local SEO Is Important

If you’ve run your site through our grader already, you probably have a solid handle on which aspects of your SEO need a little work. You may need to work on adding keywords, building links, or boosting the quality of your site (or maybe all of the above), but there’s one more thing you should think about when you start working on your optimization: local SEO.

Although our grader doesn’t have the ability to analyze and grade your local SEO, it’s important that you do it. If you’re not sure how, you’re not entirely sure what local SEO is, this post might be extremely useful to you.

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How Can I Boost My Website’s Traffic Quickly?

Are you looking for ways to increase the flow of traffic to your website? How about ways to quickly bring new visitors to your site?

Although traffic certainly isn’t the most important metric you can measure online, the more visitors you have, the better chance you have at getting sales, leads, or conversions from your site. So it’s for this reason that seeking out ways to boost your traffic quickly may be highly beneficial to you.

Here are a few ways that you can quickly increase your traffic and get more people on your site.

Launch a pay-per-click program

If you aren’t already running pay-per-click (PPC) ads, they can bring a large number of new visitors to your website in a matter of hours. Although there’s cost associated with PPC, if you choose your targeted keywords carefully, you may find that the ROI on these ads is very, very high.

PPC advertising appears on the top and side of searches when someone looks for a phrase you are targeting with your ad. If your ad is clicked, you will pay a set price for that click — but only if your ad is clicked. The visitor to your site can then go on to make a purchase or fill out a form as they normally would.

If you launch a large-scale PPC program, this can dramatically increase your traffic in a very short amount of time, and perhaps without much expense, if the keywords you are targeting are not in high competition.

Get a link from another site

Let’s say you recently created an infographic, and you are trying to draw attention to it. One way you could do this would be to send emails to larger sites telling them about it, and asking them to link to it.

One link from a very large site in your industry could lead to a surge of traffic to yours. Of course, this traffic may not all be valuable to you, but you could try to make the most of it by using popups to capture email addresses, by sending them to a targeted landing page, and so on.

Appear in the news

If you have recently done something newsworthy, let your local news stations, newspapers, and even bloggers know about it. Local sources are always on the lookout for a good story, and as long as what you have done is truly newsworthy, you may seen a flood of traffic to your website from local visitors.

Invest in advertising

Advertising can be extremely expensive, but if you are confident that your visitors will invest in you — for example, if you know you have a high conversion rate, and the average visitor to your site spends several hundred dollars — go for it!

You can opt for everything from radio advertising to billboards to a commercial. Or you can try something a little newer, like an online radio commercial or sponsorship on a television show — anywhere that your URL will be shown or read.

Go viral

Creating viral content is easier said than done — predicting what will succeed online seems more difficult than picking winning lottery numbers, even to seasoned marketing experts — but this is one final way that you can get your website in front of thousands of people very quickly.

Create an infographic, video, or piece of interactive content and promote it as much as you can. If it gets in front of the right people at the right time, and is about the right subject, and has the right features, it might go viral. But again, this is very hard to predict. Don’t plan on something going viral — if you do, you will probably be disappointed.

These are five ways you can boost your traffic overnight and get more people on your site quickly. Have any questions about this list? Or are you thinking about taking the slower, yet more reliable method of optimizing your site for search engines? Either way, don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you! Feel free to contact us at any time.

How Can I Improve My Website Grade?

So your website grade is lower than you expected. Maybe it’s just a little lower… or maybe it’s much lower. Either way, you have some work to do.

Now that you know your site needs improvement, it’s time to buckle down and get some important changes made. Here are some general tips we can offer to start you off on the right foot, no matter which areas of your website need improved.

Read our comments and suggestions

On your website report, you’ll see comments and suggestions for each specific area that we scored. Read these notes carefully — they often provide actionable advice and suggestions you can follow to improve your site.

If you’re confused by any of the comments, you can always contact us for clarification — we’ll be happy to offer you a more thorough explanation!

Check out the articles in our resources section

If you scored low in a certain area, and are looking for ways to improve that specific area — or need to know why, specifically, you scored so low — chances are, we have an article to help you.

Our resources section was designed to help you learn more about ways to bring up your website grade and boost your rankings. So if you scored low in links, look for the articles about links. They’re sure to put you on the right path for success!

Do research online

If you’re really committed to improving your score, you can do research online on the topics where you need improvement. Many reputable websites in the SEO industry often publish guides, articles, and tutorials that can help you build links, do keyword research, speed up your site, and improve your SEO.

Make an improvement plan with your team

Of course, you can’t simply assume that things will get better on your own. Unless you put the advice and ideas you get into action, you’ll never see your score go up!

Sit down with the team that works on your website and make a plan to improve each of the weak areas of your site. Set deadlines and goals for each area. For example, you may say you want to acquire 20 links in the next 90 days, or make all your title tags unique by a certain date.

Ask for help

If you can’t do it all by yourself, we completely understand. Why should you spend all your time struggling to improve your website instead of doing what you do best — that is, running your business?

Consider asking for help from an Internet marketing or SEO company. WebpageFX, the creator of this tool, would be happy to give you a hand! Feel free to contact us at any time to talk to our expert web strategists about how you can improve your grade and get your site ranking better.

These are a few ways that you can improve your website grade, no matter which areas on your report needed work. We wish you luck, and can’t wait to see you again when you come back to run a new report!

How Does Site Speed Affect My Rankings?

If you’re looking for a way to improve your website, have you thought about improving its speed? Site speed is one of the last things that website owners think of when they’re working on their SEO, but speed actually affects your ranking in search more than you might expect. In fact, if you have a slow site, it could be holding you back from hitting #1!

Let’s take an in-depth look at how site speed affects your rankings, and how you can improve your SEO by speeding up your site.

Google’s decision to use site speed in rankings

Site speed hasn’t always been a ranking factor. Google announced that it would take this factor into consideration in 2010 in a post on its Webmaster Central Blog, stating:

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. […] Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.

Google stated that site speed wouldn’t carry as much weight in its ranking algorithm as the relevance of a page. However, it did stress the importance for both SEO and users, because site speed could affect both.

There was some confusion after this announcement, however, because website owners were not sure which factor of site speed would affect ranking. Would it be total page size? The speed of the server the website was on? Or the amount of time it took the full page to load?

The specific speed factor to consider

In 2013, a study done for the Moz blog found the “time to first byte” metric (or TTFB) is what seems to correlate with your website ranking:

timetofirstbyte

TTFB is, essentially, how long it takes the server your website is hosted on to send your browser the first byte of data after you click a link. So essentially, the longer it takes for your server to start sending visitors your website, when they request it, the worse you will do in this specific factor of the algorithm.

The takeaway to consider here is that if your website server is slow, your ranking could take a hit. So you should review your hosting plan and make sure it is meeting your needs.

Moz did not find much correlation between other website speed factors, but this does not mean that they don’t affect your ranking. These factors can affect you indirectly. How? Let’s look closer.

How user behavior affects your SEO

Google takes other metrics into consideration when it is ranking your website. One of these is bounce rate — that is, the percentage of visitors who leave your site without visiting any other pages — and another is time on page.

Let’s say you have a specific page that ranks very well, but takes a long time to load. Visitors may grow very impatient and leave before it finishes loading. So your average bounce rate on this page may be 90%, and the average time on page may be 0:10.

Over time, you will see that the ranking on this page is likely to slip. Why? Well, Google has no reason to highly rank a page that 90% of users leave after only ten seconds! It’s obvious that something is driving them away. So even if your TTFB metric here is perfect, the fact that your on-page content is taking a long time to load is affecting your SEO.

Generally speaking, Google’s algorithm can take the behavior of people visiting your site into consideration. So if page speed is driving them away, you are likely to see an impact on your ranking and traffic.

This, in a nutshell, is how site speed can affect your website rankings and SEO. Have any additional questions we can help you with? Or are you confused by anything you see on the results of your website report? Just let us know, and one of our web strategists will be happy to help you out! We’d be happy to talk things over with you and find out how we can answer your questions.

How Many Keywords Should I Be Targeting?

As you work to improve your website’s visibility in search engines, you may wonder just how many individual words and phrases you should be targeting. Should you go after just one or two really important keywords? Or should you develop a long list of keywords that you want to rank for?

Although the answer is a little different for everyone, let’s take a look at the advantage of targeting multiple keywords, and what you should know about identifying and attempting to rank for many long-tail keywords as opposed to a few broader ones.

The disadvantage of targeting a single keyword

Let’s say you sell laptops on an online store, and want to rank #1 for laptops. You may not care about ranking for other keywords, because laptops are almost the only thing you sell, and you know this keyword gets an immense amount of traffic from people using search engines.

However, there are a few big problems with targeting just this keyword:

  • It will cost you a lot of money (both in SEO and pay-per-click advertising expenses) to rank #1 for “laptops”
  • You have no way of knowing if people searching for “laptops” are ready to buy, are doing research, or are even just looking for photos
  • If you only rank for “laptops,” you won’t show up in search for “[manufacturer] laptops” or “new laptops,” which means that people looking for these keywords simply won’t find you if they don’t think to search for that broad phrase first

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t make some effort to target a broad keyword like this. However, if this is the only keyword you’re targeting, you’re going to run into problems.

Expanding into long-tail keywords

Instead of targeting just “laptops,” our theoretical store should expand to target keywords and longer phrases like:

  • buy new laptops
  • buy [manufacturer] laptops
  • laptops for sale
  • where to buy new laptops for cheap

… and so on.

This addresses not only the third issue above — the many ways that people think to look for stores like yours — but also the second one. If you run a store, you should be targeting keywords related to purchases. On the other hand, if you run a site that serves as a source of information, you can opt for something like “information about laptops” or “comparison between [manufacturer] laptops.”

How many keywords are needed?

Different industries need to target a different number of keywords. For example, there are many laptop sizes, manufacturers, configurations, and features. But on the other hand, if our theoretical store offers gardening supplies, there is really only a limited number of seeds. You’ll never run into a situation where you need to target “[manufacturer] sunflower seeds,” will you?

The number of keywords you need to target will depend on your industry, as well as your budget. If you can afford to be visible for broader keywords like “laptop,” even knowing that people looking for that keyword aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase, go for it! But just be aware that you should also target many keywords that show clear intent, too.

Keyword targeting priority

To be perfectly clear, you should target as many keywords as you feel comfortable with, following this level of priority:

  1. Long-tail keywords showing clear intent, ex. “buy [manufacturer] laptop,” “SEO plans”
  2. Long-tail keywords where you can offer information, ex. “compare [manufacturer] laptops,” “why SEO is important”
  3. Broad keywords with no intent, ex. “laptops,” “SEO”

We hope this helps you understand a little more about keywords, and gives you a better idea of the number of keywords you should be targeting with your website’s SEO. For more information about long-tail keywords and the advantages of targeting them, we recommend reading the first part of this page: How Can I Get More Search Engine Traffic?

If you still have questions about keywords, or need any help with your website, don’t hesitate to let us know! We would be happy to lend you a hand. Feel free to contact us at any time for a quick response from one of our expert strategists.

How Can I Use Images to Improve My SEO?

Can your website’s images really help improve your ranking and visibility in search? Absolutely!

On this page, we’ll give you a few crucial image SEO tips that you can use to instantly improve your website and give your search engine optimization a boost. Even if you know a little bit about SEO, keep reading — you might learn something new!

The importance of image alt text

When you add an image to a website, whether you do this through a CMS (content management system) or by hand, there’s an “alt text” attribute that you usually are asked to define. If you don’t fill this out, you are missing one of the most important aspects of image SEO!

Alt text essentially tells visitors to your website, in the case of an image that does not load, what that image contains. So if your image of a red dress doesn’t load, but the alt text says “red dress,” they’ll know what the image contains.

Search engines, of course, can’t see images in the same way you and I can. So they rely on the alt text to determine the contents of an image. In the same way that the “red dress” alt text tells a visitor what your image should be, it tells a search engine what that image actually is. If you use three or four images of red dresses on a single page, a search engine can make an assumption that your page is about red dresses, and should stand a better chance at ranking for that keyword.

Thus, if you don’t fill out the alt text for your images, you’re missing out on an important aspect of SEO. Fill in those descriptions right away!

Filenames are important, too

What you name your images is important as well. Do a Google Images search for something like “image1” or “photo” sometime — you’ll be surprised by how many results you get!

Although you and I don’t see the filenames of the images on websites, search engines do. If your image files are named “red_dress” instead of “photo_1_2014” or “img_2000384,” search engines will be able to better determine what the contents of your images are. Again, you’ll stand a better chance of ranking for that keyword if it’s in your filename (although this certainly isn’t the only ranking factor).

Another thing to consider: if someone is searching Google Images for images of a red dress, your filename will definitely matter here! A file named “photo_1_2014” won’t show up, but “red_dress” will… and someone who views your image may view your website, too!

Reduce your filesizes

Both search engines and website visitors take pages that take a long time to load. One of the most common culprits of this issue is images.

You should reduce the sizes of the images on your website as much as you possibly can. Don’t just resize the image using HTML and assume it will load faster just because it looks smaller — in fact, this still takes a lot of time.

Try using the “Save for Web” option in Photoshop or online image compression tools like Kraken.io to make your image filesizes smaller, but still preserve much of the quality.

These are just three ways that you can improve your site’s SEO and ranking with images. If you’re looking for more tips, check out this free guide: Guide to Image SEO. This marketing guide contains additional ways that you can optimize your images for search and increase your traffic using the power of Google Images.

Have any questions about image SEO or the report you received from us? Feel free to let us know. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

How Can I Get More Search Engine Traffic?

Is your search engine traffic very low? Are you trying to find ways to increase it and get more visitors to your site? On this page, we offer a few ideas to help you accomplish this task, as well as some resources that you can use to grow your site and improve your online presence.

We’ll start with keyword targeting, which is one of the ways you can make the biggest difference in the amount of traffic you receive from Google.

Make sure you’re targeting the right keywords

One of the most common mistakes that companies make is going after very broad, highly competitive keywords on their websites. For example, if you sell bicycles, common sense would dictate that you should target “bicycles” on your website, right?

However, someone searching for the word “bicycle” could have several things in mind — the intent really isn’t clear. They could be researching types of bikes, looking for photos, wanting to buy a bike, or maybe they don’t actually know what a bicycle is or how it works! So even if you ranked #1 for this word, your sales might be extremely low because a large percentage of people searching this word aren’t ready to buy.

Also, you could run into the situation where a majority of the people who want to find or buy your product don’t even use the phrase you think they use. What if you target “buy bicycles” but most of your potential customers instead search for “buy bikes” or “buy mountain bikes”? If you target the wrong keywords, your traffic will be low, and your sales may be suffering.

This is one of the most common issues we see. Fortunately, it’s very easy to fix — it just takes a little research.

Target more long-tail keywords

In the example above, we talked about targeting “bicycles” as opposed to “buy mountain bikes.” “Buy mountain bikes” is a long-tail keyword — that is, a keyword that may have lower such volume, but shows a higher level of intent (and in this case, interest in making a purchase).

If you target these long-tail keywords on your site, you may see a drop in traffic from the “big” keywords you think you should be going after, but overall, your traffic and sales from longer-tail keywords will jump up. Overall, getting more traffic isn’t hugely important — it’s getting traffic that converts that really matters.

In our example above, your store might go from targeting the keyword “bicycles” to targeting “buy mountain bikes,” “buy bicycle parts,” or even “buy bicycles in [city].” This will bring your site traffic from people more likely to make a purchase, who have already done their research and may be price shopping. Give them a good deal and you have this in the bag!

We have a free guide that can help you both improve your keyword targeting and identify valuable long-tail keywords to use on your website. You can download it for free here!

Improve your website’s SEO

Of course, keyword targeting is only one piece of the puzzle. Your site’s overall search engine-friendliness matters, too. If your site is not fast, well-optimized, sporting a lot of links, and using keywords in the right places, your traffic may remain low.

There are a lot of ways you can improve your website’s SEO. By improving your SEO, you are making it more visible in search engines for a variety of keywords, which will increase your traffic. To learn about these methods, just take a look through our resources section to learn about them!

Add more original content

Does your website consist of a few pages about your business, history, products or services, and how to contact you? If so, this could be why you aren’t getting much traffic from search engines.

Google likes fresh, original content, and prefers to show users sites that have a lot of it. Also, website content like articles, blog posts, and guides give you more ways to add the keywords you are targeting to your site, which can in turn help you rank better and attract more visitors to your site.

If you do not already have one, consider starting a blog or opening a knowledge base to write about the topics you are an authority on — it will help you more than you may realize!

Start scaling your traffic

If you already have an initial flow of traffic to your site, start working on scaling it. There are several ways you can do this, depending on which stage of growth you are in, but you should look into the following:

  • Pay-per-click ads (ex. Google AdWords)
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Word of mouth promotion
  • Offline marketing methods
  • Advanced SEO tactics (link building, content marketing, lead generation, CRO, etc.)

For additional resources that can help you increase your website traffic and improve your visibility in search, check out these three free guides:

If you have any questions about increasing your search engine traffic, or are confused by any of the things on the report you received from us, please don’t hesitate to let us know! We would be more than happy to help you make sense of your results and give you some additional tips to improve your website and increase your traffic.

How Can I Get More Links to My Website?

Links are one of the most important factors that Google uses to determine how well your website ranks compared to others. If you do not have a lot of links pointing to your site, you may be wondering how to increase those links and boost your site authority and ranking.

Here are a few ways that you can get more links and improve this area on your report.

Ask for links from relevant websites

Sometimes getting a link is as easy as asking for it. If you are in contact with others in your industry who are willing to link you, this can be a simple way to boost your site’s authority and visibility.

If you run an ecommerce website, you may be able to be linked by manufacturers from a store locator or list of approved resellers. Or if you run a valuable resource of some kind for your industry, you could be linked by other websites who maintain a list of resources similar to yours.

Create content that attracts links

If you are not already participating in some kind of content marketing program, consider starting one. Research has found that websites with blogs earn approximately 97% more links than those without. You can also invest in articles, guides, infographics, or videos — any other type of content that people in your target market might get excited about and want to share with other people.

If you are routinely creating and sharing this content, it may naturally attract links from others.

Pitch your content to other websites

Of course, your content may not always attract links, especially if your website is new or not yet in a growth stage. So you may have to do some manual work to earn the links you need.

You can accomplish this by contacting websites you want to obtain links from and asking them to look at, and consider linking to, your content. You may ask them to include your website as a resource on a page that already exists, or to link to a new piece of content you’ve created as the basis for a future blog post or article (assuming they have an interest in the content you created).

Create content for others

Finally, you can create content for other websites and obtain links this way. The links you obtain may be through guest posts that you create for other blogs that have links to your content throughout, or you may have a link to your website in your author byline. Either way, this method is mutually beneficial, as it allows another website to benefit from your content and you to benefit from a link.

These are four simple ways that you can obtain links to your website. For a few more ideas, check out these articles:

Have any questions about obtaining links to your website, and how they can help improve your score and boost your rankings? Or do you need help interpreting the results of your website grader report? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you with whatever you need.